Locke beats the Sox

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Jeff Locke is getting used to pitching at JetBlue Park. If the Pirates played in the American League East, that could be seen as a positive sign about his ability to pitch at Fenway. Instead, he'll take his strong outing on Wednesday as a step in the right direction along the path of getting ready for life in the National League Central.

In his third start of the spring, and second straight here in Fort Myers, Locke went four solid innings, allowing just one run on three hits and two walks while striking out three in Pittsburgh's 9-3 victory. It was a much better performance than his last JetBlue appearance, when the lefty yielded three runs over three innings on Friday.

"I was pretty happy with everything today," Locke said. "The only thing I wasn't really happy with was getting two quick outs and stuff happened. Everything felt really good today. I can't stress enough how much better it feels to come back here a week later and pitch better, regardless of who it's against."

Making his third Grapefruit League start, Locke allowed just one run and scattered three hits over four frames.

Locke sat the Red Sox down in order in the top of the first inning: Brock Holt flew out to left; Jonny Gomes flew out to left; and Jarrod Saltamacchia struck out swinging.

Locke also got the Sox 1-2-3 in the second inning: Mario Gomes flew out to center; JC Linares flew out to center; and Jackie Bradley Jr. was called out on strikes.

The Red Sox got a run in the third when Pedro Ciriaco singled with two outs and stole second; Holt walked; and Gomes doubled in the run. Locke got out of the inning by inducing a ground ball to first out of Saltamacchia.

Boston threatened in the fourth inning when Linares doubled and Bradley walked with one out, but Locke buckled down and struck out David Ross looking and then got Jose Inglesias to fly out to right to end the inning.

"That was one of the bright spots for him today, because he was behind in the count while he was out there," manager Clint Hurdle said. "The fact that he made pitches, he stayed away from the big inning, they scratched him for the one run, no more damage than that, he went out there four times, it was a good step forward for him.

"He had a much better outing than the last time he was here. Everything was fresher, everything was a little cleaner with a better downhill angle, a better quality of strikes when he was throwing."

"I was able to throw more pitches in the strike zone and keep the ball down a lot better," Locke said, in comparison to his last JetBlue outing. "There were some pretty well-stroked balls, but that's just a part of baseball. For me, personally, with it being Spring Training and you're preparing yourself for the season, it was definitely a step in the right direction today. I mixed up my pitches and I was able to get quality work from the windup and the stretch."

Courtesy MLB.

Sports Correction

A story on Jeff Locke working his way back to Miami Marlins, incorrectly identified a source. Michael Napoles of the Marlin Maniac.com, not the Jupiter Hammerheads, should be credited with details on Locke from his May 9 start.

Napoles full report from two weeks ago can be found here: http://marlinmaniac.com/2017/05/09/miami-marlins-jeff-locke/

We apologize for the error.


DJ Shaw grabs fifth straight top five in Southern Maine Motors 300

SCARBOROUGH, Maine – DJ Shaw continued his late season surge for the Pro All Stars Series North Championship with a runner-up finish at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway in the 8th Annual Southern Maine Motors 300. The No. 60 Precision JLM machine was fast all day, and ran in the top three for most of the event and picked up a lot of points in the championship picture with just one race remaining.

"We had a solid car all day and it was fun racing for the win with Austin (Theriault) and Derek (Ramstrom)," Shaw said after the event, "I didn't want to push it too hard there at the beginning but coming from outside the top ten and then having to race as hard as everyone else was up front, but all in all it was a great race and great points day for us, we have a shot going into Oxford."

The weekend started out on Saturday with the heat races. Shaw started on the outside of the front row, and overtook Brad Babb early to grab the heat win. That was the second heat win of the season for Shaw, who has been stellar in the qualifiers lately. The big 300 lap feature event took place the next day on Sunday in front of a great crowd at Beech Ridge.

Shaw started the race from the 11th position. Making his way to the front early on, Shaw found himself in the top five by lap 60. Getting through many of the races early cautions, Shaw saw himself locked into a tight battle for the lead. Over the final stages of the race, a long green flag run at the end had Shaw in a battle with Austin Theriault and Corey Bubar for the win. A late race caution on lap 288 set up a dash for the finish. Shaw would restart in second, and after battling with Theriault for the win, he had to settle for second fending off a charge from Derek Ramstrom.

Five straight top five finishes give Shaw a legitimate shot at the title. With just one race remaining, Shaw is in the thick of the title fight now with point's leader Cassius Clark and runner-up Joey Doiron for a shot at the PASS North Championship.

The final race comes in two weeks on Sept. 28 at the famed Oxford Plains Speedway. Racing starts at 1 p.m., tickets are just $20 and kids 12 and under only $5. Get to the track to see DJ Shaw try his hand at the championship!

Stay up to date with DJ Shaw and the Precision JLM team on Facebook at the Precision JLM Racing page, on Twitter @djshaw60 and on the web at DJShaw60.com.


Locke is one more rehab start away from joining the Marlins

CONWAY — Jeff Locke is closing in on his debut for the Miami Marlins. The 2006 Kennett High graduate is scheduled to make his fourth rehab start of the spring on Wednesday when he takes to the mound for the team's Class AA affiliate, the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp.

Locke, who came down with bicep tendonitis during the opening week of spring training with his new team Miami, said in an email he feels good and is ready to help the Fish.

"I'm feeling much, much better," he wrote.

According to the Jumbo Shrimp website, "(Locke) labored through the first inning, facing five batters and surrendering the first run of the game before settling in. Locke consistently sat between 88-92 with his two seam fastball and off-speed pitches showing plenty of movement. Locke made quick work in the second, third, and fourth innings facing only 10 batters and throwing 32 pitches before giving a run in the fifth and sixth inning."

Aaccording to the Jumbo Shrimp's website, after the game Locke, who felt like he accomplished what he wanted to Friday night in his start with Jacksonville, addressed the media.

"We came in with the objective of trying to get at least six ups, make some good pitches, move the ball around a little bit, have the defense work behind me. We did a pretty good job of that, but really just wanted to feel good. You want to feel like you're progressing in the right direction. Tonight was definitely a move in the right direction," Locke said.

Locke said that filling up the strike zone has been a focus of his in all his rehab appearances. He's yet to walk a hitter in 14 innings.

"That's a big goal," he told the website. "If a guy is going to lead off an inning with a hit, so be it. But a lead-off walk, I don't think so. It's tough to win many ball games like that."

Miami, which currently resides in the basement in the National League East at 15-28, is in need of starting pitching with Edinson Volquez nursing a blister on his pitching hand, Dan Straily out with a bruised elbow and Wei-Yin Chen sidelined with arm fatigue.